Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fishing Florida Keys

I am no expert by far when it comes to fishing the Florida Keys, but that really doesn’t matter because my uncle is. I have been there many times and fished with my uncle there many times, and we have caught a lot of fish. Mainly dolphin, or “mahi mahi”. When you land on a school of them, it’s the best feeling in the world, but the biggest problem when fishing for mahi mahi is trying to find them.

You will definitely need a boat, and if you have some outriggers on the boat, this will increase your chances of hooking a mahi, as you will have more lines that are in the water, the more lines, the better chance that you have. You will also need the right bait and tackle to hook up with them, what we use, are frozen ballyhoo, hooked to a colorful lure, and tied on with a wire leader to the nose of the ballyhoo. Put a little bit of weight on the line, because you are going to be trolling at about 6-9 knots. The bait will be slightly skipping right above the water. You will want to let the lines out about the length of a football field, the outer lines let them out a little bit more. We usually have about 8 lines in the water when we are trolling.

Every time that I have been Florida Keys fishing, we have gone out by Marathon Key. In my experience the best time to catch some mahi mahi will be early in the morning, before all the other captains and fishing charters get out there and fill them up. If you can get out there before sunset, the fish will be hungry and ready to bite. And the further that you go out, the better chance you have of landing some big ones. Most people just go out about 5-6 miles, if you want some serious size, go out about 15 miles if you can afford the gas, the gas is going to kill you either way. There have been times that we have been trolling for hours and not had a single hit. It is what it is people.

When you are trolling there are a couple of things that you need to look for, boards and birds. The birds know where the fish are, so if you see a bird, follow him, if you see multiple birds that are diving, you are almost guaranteed to catch some fish. If you see a big board floating in the water, go by it, there are usually fish swimming around it. Now when you get a mahi mahi on the line, reel it in all the way, if it’s a smaller one, like in the 10-15 pound range, then leave him in the water, the other “schooly’s” will follow the dolphin in distress, get those spinners out and get them in the water, you will be reeling up dolphin left and right.

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